be a mentor
15. August 2020

Management development through mentoring

By Riccardo Giacometti

Mentoring is an instrument of management development in which an experienced manager passes on his or her own experience to a junior manager – the mentee.

Mentoring makes proven knowledge available to high potentials

Mentoring describes a consulting process in which a professionally experienced person accompanies a mentee – usually a high-potential employee – who has only recently joined the company. A good mentor makes his or her proven knowledge available, discusses political and tactical approaches with the mentee, and opens up his or her networks. Open feedback and critical discussion are essential requirements for successful mentoring.

Sharing knowledge and experience personally

The main objective of mentoring is to support the mentee in his or her professional development. This support ranges from pure knowledge transfer to strategic career planning and personal development.

Mentoring pairs are often formed on their own initiative. In addition, some organizations also offer standardized mentoring programs in which mentors and mentees are assigned to each other.

What makes a good mentoring relationship?

First and foremost, it is the commitment of those involved that is decisive: the mentor wants to advance his or her mentee and the mentee is open to tips and suggestions. Both have a good relationship of trust and communicate at eye level. Both meet regularly to exchange experiences and discuss them. The following topics are usually the main focus:

  • The mentor provides help with specific internal obstacles or challenges.
  • The mentee is prepared and qualified for key tasks.
  • The position of the mentee is strengthened

What are the success factors?

  • Mentor and Mentee
    • Have no direct working relationship,
    • Standing on different career levels and
    • complement each other very well in terms of their respective experiences.
  • The mentor is open to exchange, has extensive experience, and is well networked.
  • The mentee’s individual goals are recorded at the beginning of the cooperation and regularly reviewed.

Peer consulting takes place in a team

Peer consulting is a form of consulting within a team. As a rule, five to eight participants work on practical issues according to time and content structure. Each group member presents his or her concerns from everyday work and receives ideas, praise, and alternative suggestions for a course of action from all team members.

Critical for successful peer consulting is an attitude that also allows for alternative solutions. There must be a willingness to deal with any concern in a benevolent and constructive manner.

Coaching, mentoring and peer consulting at a glance

In coaching, mentoring, and also peer consulting, the willingness to self-reflect is necessary. Time and work to accept new knowledge and also to try it out in practice must be planned for. The prognosis for success is high: learning research has shown that we can remember 30 percent of what we hear and see and already 80 percent of what we say or do. But this figure only rises to 95 percent if we reflect what we have learned in a structured way with other people.